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certainly would u barks because none of us favor tax increases period. but i think speaker leads this caucus, he's not led by this caucus, and this caucus supports him tremendously. he's in a very strong position right now, and people think he led us through a very contentious election and they think back to some of the tough decisions he made in the negotiations and the debt ceiling negotiations, i think he's been vindicated in those decisions. he's got a line on the republican proposal, so i think actually the speaker's negotiating from a position of strength, but there are limits, obviously, just given the fact that taxes are headed up for most americans at tent of the month. so there's also some leverage only the democratic side. >> there's also a report that says there is no conclusive evidence between tax cuts and economic expansion. >> you can find plenty of economists that would quarrel and disagree with that and there's about as many disagreements on these kinds of things as there are congressmen. but nobody elects republicans to raise taxes. it's just something that most rep
this tell us about the future of labor? >>> but we begin with the latest on the fiscal cliff. republicans made another counteroffer but it's reportedly not much different from their first offer. though we don't have specifics, we do know the president and john boehner talked on the phone last night and that call, according to a republican familiar with it, was tense and lasted just 15 minutes. i want to bring in real clear politics reporter aaron mcpike and david hawkings, editor of the cq roll call daily briefing. good morning. so president obama sat down with barbara walters last night. here's what he said. >> most important thing we can do is make sure the middle class taxes do not go up on january 1st and i'm pretty confident that republicans would not hold middle class taxes hostage to try to protect tax cuts for high income individuals. >> so he's confident. is it almost a foregone conclusion, do you think, david, that this is going to be the first piece of the puzzle that falls into place? >> i'm pretty confident that that's going to have to be the first piece of the p
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